JDRF Walk to honor Ron Santo's life - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

JDRF Walk to honor Ron Santo's life

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Ron Santo (1940 - 2010) Ron Santo (1940 - 2010)

By Ron Hoon, FOX 10 News - bio

He was simply one of the most amazing players to ever walk on a baseball field.  An All-Star nine times, winner of five Golden Gloves and Ron Santo did it all for years, without a single person on the team knowing that he was in a daily struggle with the sometimes deadly disease of diabetes.

Vicki Santo, Ron's wife, shared stories about him that people never knew until years later -- including one day in a crucial game, ,where his teammate Billy Williams had just been up to bat.  Ron's diabetes was so bad, he thought he might pass out in front of thousands of people.

He went back to the dugout, drank juice, ate a candy bar, got his blood sugar up and made it through the rest of the game.  Even Ron's closest friends on the team didn't know that story until Vicki told it in Cooperstown, New York the day Ron was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

It wasn't until late in his baseball career that he went public with his fight with diabetes, but that changed everything.

You see, when Ron was diagnosed as a teenager, they didn't have the tools diabetics do now, like meters that help manage blood sugar.  He was, in many ways, on his own and yet he created one of the most successful careers in baseball history.

After his playing days were over, he became a beloved broadcaster in Chicago, doing Cubs games.  But as time went on, the disease began to ravage his body. 

He did get through it, only to lose his legs a year later.  And for years, there was the very real threat of slipping into a diabetic coma.

But through every health scare, Ron kept going.  It was his dedication to the Cubs, it was the love of his life and it was his determination not to let the disease beat him.

The JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes, celebrating the life of Ron Santo, will be held Saturday morning at Tempe Town Lake.

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